Cricket legends, celebrities and pop stars were all in attendance as the 2019 Cricket World Cup officially launched with a royal party on The Mall in London.
The party was hosted by ex-England star Freddie Flintoff, actress and singer Shibani Dandekar and TV presenter Paddy McGuinness. The event was attended by 5,000 fans and broadcast around the world ahead of the start of the competition today.
All competing nations at the World Cup were represented in a ten team celebrity street challenge. Kevin Pietersen, Sir Vivian Richards, Jacques Kallis and Anil Kumble were among the cricket legends who attended, and they were joined by Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, 1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, sprinter Yohan Blake, Indian actor and director Farhan Akhtar, former New Zealand rugby player Sean Fitzpatrick, reality TV star Chris Hughes and South African footballer Steven Pienaar.
The captains of the 10 competing teams greeted fans following a meeting with the Queen at Buckingham Palace earlier in the day. The event also represented the finale of the 100-day Trophy Tour, with Australian captain Michael Clarke handing over the trophy to commence the tournament.
A live performance of ‘Stand By’, the competition’s official song by LORYN and Rudimental, rounded off the party.
Tournament Managing Director Steve Elworthy said: “Today we saw a remarkable party to open this World Cup in style. Across the last two years, we have continually reached out to new audiences to grow the game; women, children, sport-loving families, big event fans, while engaging with the diverse and passionate cricket fans already in this country.
“The tournament is shaping up to be the greatest ever cricket celebration and a record-breaking World Cup and we want to inspire future generations of fans in this country and around the world. This party encapsulates the atmosphere that we know the fans will bring to the World Cup."
The Cricket World Cup takes place across England and Wales from 30th May to 14th July. Semi-finals will be played at Old Trafford in Manchester and Edgbaston in Birmingham, with the final taking place at Lord’s in London.